Lions ink Weaver

London Lions have secured the services of 6’8” Centre, Trent Weaver, ahead of the start of the new season.

The 25 year old graduated from NCAA Division II side, Ohio Dominican in 2016 after averaging 15 points and 10 rebounds. The center has pro experience in Germany with FC Shalke and in Luxembourg the past two seasons. Under former Plymouth Raiders Coach, Gavin Love, Weaver averaged 27 points and 11 rebounds whilst shooting 61% from the field.

“I am pleased to have secured Trent, he is a force in the paint, he runs all day and will be a physical presence,” said Lions Head Coach, Vince Macaulay.

“He shoots the ball extremely well and I believe will fit in well to BBL play. He has had success from this League in the past and I’m excited to get to work with him.”

The Ohio native Weaver added, “The opportunity to be a part of a team that has had amazing recent success in a well-respected League was extremely attractive to me. I understand the Lions play a fast paced, exciting brand of basketball along with toughness and grit.

“These aspects align perfectly with what I can bring to the table. All whilst playing basketball in the beautiful city of London. I know the upcoming season will be another special one.”

Weaver is expected to join his team mates this week ahead of the start of the season on 20 September. Tickets for Lions games are available at www.thelondonlions.com.

Brit Jordan Jackson checks in

London Lions have announced the acquisition of 6’9” Centre, Jordan Jackson ahead of the new season.

Jackson has gained all his basketball experience in the USA, most recently graduating from McMurry University but has had spells at Florida A&M before being tracked by the Lions.

Born in Leeds, Jackson will enter his first season as a pro after averaging just shy of 9 points and 5 boards.

“I am glad to be a part of this great programme with focused players and great staff,” said Jackson.

“I can feel nothing but success for our season. I just want to thank the Lions for bringing me on board and I’m ready to get the train rolling.”

Coach Vince Macaulay added, “Jordan has a strong presence and I think he has a learning curve ahead of him but he has shown huge athleticism and a willingness to learn, he will certainly help us in the paint and on the glass.”

Next action for Jackson and his team mates will be tonight when they face Bakken Bears, Danish Champions, at University of East London.

Tickets are still available at https://www.thelondonlions.com/sports-dock-games/.

National British Basketball Survey 2019

The BBL
are asking British Basketball fans, fans of basketball in general and non-fans
for their thoughts and views on the sport in an unprecedented nation-wide
survey.

The survey is titled ‘Understanding British Basketball and its Perceptions: A survey for British Basketball fans and non-fans alike’ and is thought to be one of the most comprehensive questionnaires covering the sport in the UK within recent times.

The release of this survey supports BBL’s overall strategy of driving new audiences by better understanding the needs of BBL’s current fan-base alongside (in what sets this survey apart from many of its predecessors) gaining a unique insight into what perceptions the greater public hold about basketball at a National level. The survey responses will be fully analysed and used to help shape BBL’s future growth and communication plans. A final report displaying all the received data and subsequent key findings will be shared with BBL clubs, stakeholders and be made publicly available.

Joe Harkin, BBL’s Head of Communications said: “Taking time to listen to the views of our current fans and attempting to gain a better understanding of the perceptions held by the potential British Basketball devotees of the future is a vital component in realising our ambition of attracting substantial new audiences whilst keeping our current supporters happy and coming back for more.”

“The results of this survey will provide us with valuable customer insights and will play a substantial role in shaping our future plans. So, we really do appreciate everybody’s opinions and input whether they are a basketball fan or not.”

The broader the range of responses the more comprehensive the findings will be, so the BBL is urging everybody from the British Basketball community to complete the ten minute survey and then share with family and colleagues regardless of their background or current interests.

As an
incentive to complete the survey the BBL have teamed up with their official
apparel partner Kappa. All completed survey entries will be placed into a
prize-draw with one lucky  person receiving a fantastic £250 Kappa
sportswear voucher.

The BBL’s
National British Basketball Survey 2019 opens on 9 September and
will close at noon on 30 September.

Please take time to fill in the survey CLICK HERE

For full T&C’s regarding the Kappa £250 prize-draw please CLICK  HERE

Eagles announce Fab successor

Newcastle Eagles have promoted from within after handing Fabulous Flournoy’s former assistant the keys to the most successful club in British basketball.

Ian Macleod became one of the veteran playcaller’s most trusted lieutenants in recent years and last season saw the Geordie coach given even greater responsibility on match nights.

And Newcastle managing director Paul Blake has moved to end any short-term speculation regarding Flournoy’s successor by naming Macleod as the Eagles’ interim head coach.

“Ian is a talented, well-respected and ambitious coach who deserves his chance,” he said.

“I am excited to see what he can do as a head coach and I want to give him time to make his mark in the BBL.

“He has lived and breathed Newcastle Eagles for almost 20 years now and this appointment represents the culmination of an incredible journey with the club.

“Ian has been working closely with Fab and Dave Forrester all summer to recruit a team capable of challenging for silverware this season and he knows these players inside out.

“I took a chance on Fab as an untried head coach 17 years ago and look how that worked out. I’m prepared to do the same where Ian is concerned and I felt a degree of continuity was critical during a period of significant change.”

Macleod, who was on GB Under 18 duty as an assistant coach earlier this summer, has a burgeoning reputation within the British game as one of basketball’s rising stars.

The 36-year-old is renowned for his attention to tactical detail and will continue to work alongside Forrester – with no immediate plans to add to the club’s coaching staff.

“I was approached about the head coach’s position a few days ago and it’s an incredible opportunity for me,” said Macleod, who was appointed as an assistant to Flournoy in 2013.

“To be offered a head coach’s role at any BBL club would be a fantastic opportunity for someone in my position but Newcastle isn’t any club. I’m well aware of that.

“But I’ve had a few days to think about the position I find myself in and I’m fully focused on what I want to happen moving forward.

“Realistically it’s something I’ve worked towards for the best part of 20 years. I’ve always wanted to be a professional coach and to do that at Newcastle is extra special.

“I’ve been involved at every level of the club since I was a kid – from volunteering at hour-long community sessions to joining Fab’s BBL coaching staff, it’s been an amazing journey and I’ve seen how this club works at first hand from top to bottom.”

Macleod is under no illusion as to the enormity of the job facing any coach tasked with following Flournoy.

But he is relishing the opportunity to lead a roster built to put Newcastle back on top of the BBL this season.

“I’m fortunate to be inheriting a strong roster and a deep roster,” he added. “I’ve been working closely with Fab and Dave all summer in terms of recruitment so I’m confident we have a well-balanced team.

“As a club we always do our due diligence where the character of players is concerned and the guys I have around me are wholly committed and very coachable.

“Because of the nature of Fab’s role I know most of the guys who I’m coaching very well. There’s a level of familiarity there as far as the returning players are concerned – I know how they work and vice versa.

“It’s been all hands on deck since Fab confirmed he was moving to the Raptors. I’ve already worked hard to ensure the players are on the same page as me and while it’s been important to celebrate what Fab has achieved and look back on some great memories it’s now all about getting back to normality.

“It’s all about ensuring that we’re match ready for the first competitive fixture on September 20.”

The post-Flournoy era gathers pace tonight [Friday] when Newcastle face BBL foes Worcester Wolves in the second of this week’s pre-season friendlies.

It is hoped Sade Ade Hussein will be fit to suit up after the Frenchman picked up a knee injury in Tuesday night’s narrow defeat to the touring USA Select side, and Macleod could hand a debut to Mike Morsell after the ex-Towson Tiger touched down on Tyneside last night.

Lockhart returns for fifth season

London Lions have confirmed the return of guard, Andre Lockhart for his fifth season in the capital.

The 33 year old dual Bajan-British passport holder showed his immense contribution to the team in the Championship winning season as he backed up the point position whilst bringing healthy scoring and a wise head to proceedings.

Already heading up Lions’ Basketball Academy Partnerships with the New City College he serves as a mentor and coach to the talent of the future.

Following three seasons with Queens University in the USA, Lockhart arrived in the BBL in the 2010-11 season as he helped Newcastle Eagles to the runners-up spot in the BBL Championship. After spells in back in Barbados and Germany, Lockhart returned to the UK in January 2014 and helped Essex Leopards finish as runners-up in NBL Division One.

Last season Lockhart anchored the bench and contributed 6 points and 2.5 assists to the team whilst drawing some tough defensive assignments.

A Barbados international at both junior and senior level, Lockhart is beaming to be back with the Lions.

“I am super ecstatic to be back with the Lions and continuing into my fifth year with the club,” said Lockhart.

“I can’t thank the management team and coaching staff enough for the opportunity to stay within an organisation that has become my extended family. We achieved great goals last season but weren’t satisfied so will be hungry to achieve more.

“I want to thank my coaches for having confidence in me and I will repay them by working extremely hard in whatever role is required so we can be successful again.”

Lions Head Coach Vince Macaulay added, “Andre is a rock for us. He exemplifies what you want in a player, a team mate and a friend.

“He is dedicated to his craft and is always working to improve, his court awareness now is high, his defensive effort is relentless and he is a sage for the younger guys, he is a big asset to us in this coming season.”

Fans will get to see the team for the first time tonight and then the 9 September. Cal State Poly are the visitors to the Copper Box later this evening whilst Euro-team, Bakken Bears, Danish Champions, will be next up on the 9th. Tickets available at https://www.thelondonlions.com/sports-dock-games/

Tickets for the Cal Poly Mustangs, regular season game tickets and season tickets are now available online on the Lions website.

Wolves sign Holden

Worcester Wolves have acquired the services of Merrill Holden for the 2019-20 BBL season.

The 6’8″ American brings further strength, athleticism and versatility to the Wolves roster ahead of the new campaign.

During his NCAA Career with Louisiana Tech and Iowa State, playing in 75 games Merrill totalled 292 points, 49 blocks and 199 rebounds.

Since graduating from Iowa State Merrill has also played for Caballeros de Culiacan and for Bahrain Basketball where he averaged 24.8 points and 14.8 rebounds.

“I am really excited about Merrill pulling on a Wolves Jersey this season,” said Wolves Head Coach Matt Newby. “It was a long process trying to find a position 5/4 that would complement the line-up we have recruited and I believe we have found him.

“He has the ability to impact the game at this level in a number of ways and I feel his desire defensively is a super strength and when you couple this with high outputs on the glass at both ends of the floor and his ability to protect the rim as well as strong basketball IQ I feel we have a great asset.”

Merrill cannot wait to get started with his new team, adding “I’m excited to start this year with Worcester. I feel that we have a young group of guys that will bring toughness, skill, energy and determination.

“I’m excited to show the Wolfpack the energy and leadership that I will bring to the program. It’s going to be a special season, you don’t want to miss out.”

Tickets are available for Wolves’ season at https://worcesterwolves.org/tickets/home-games/ and from the University of Worcester Arena.

BBL games to go free-to-view on YouTube

The 2019/20 British Basketball League (BBL), Cup, Trophy and Play-Off games will be free-to-view on the BBL’s dedicated YouTube channel this season.

The season starts on Friday 20 September 2019 and in an unprecedented move for a top-tier UK professional sporting league – BBL games will be available for fans to view completely subscription and charge free. Games will be able to be viewed either live or on-demand. The flexibility of being able to watch basketball action at a time that best suits fans reflects the habits of how viewers are increasingly choosing to consume major sporting events and occasions.

On-demand, edited game highlights and the traditional top plays of the week will be joined by a new YouTube social show. The show is currently in development but will provide a platform for players, coaches and fans to debate the hot-topics from the weeks’ sporting action. This ‘magazine-style’ show is scheduled to be launched in early-December 2019 to coincide with league games commencing and will have numerous inter-active elements to it. These features will allow fans to be able to shape the actual content of subsequent episodes which, again helps meet growing consumer demands for a more involved and immersive experience.

Bob Hope, BBL’s Commercial Director said: “I am delighted to be able to announce that barring venue changes and access challenges, the vast majority of BBL games will be made available on YouTube. Being in control of our broadcast rights and moving all the action free-to-view will be a real game-changer. This move will allow increased viewing opportunities for our existing fanbase and will act as a prominent shop-window for attracting new fans to the BBL.”

“This exciting move will see more eyes on the sport than ever as there is a significant younger audience out there that we wish to engage with – this audience is of the generation that is not accustomed to paying for their sporting content, so with this move we are addressing their needs.”

This announcement is central to BBL`s overall media strategy of driving new audiences to the sport by offering a compelling mix of live free-to-view games along with video-on-demand, highlight packages and short-form game snippets. This is a first in the history of the league.

Every BBL game will be made available on YouTube withstanding venue changes or unforeseen access or technical circumstances. Further broadcast announcements will be made shortly. To never miss a minute of any of the forthcoming British basketball action, fans are being encouraged to subscribe to the BBL YouTube channel CLICK HERE clicking the reminder bell, or to sign up for the BBL newsletter CLICK HERE.

The full list of dates and times for 2019/20 fixtures are available HERE